century association biographical archive

Earliest Members of the Century Association

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William Cullen Bryant

Poet/Editor/Civic Affairs

Centurion, 1847–1878

Born 3 November 1794 in Cummington, Massachusetts

Died 12 June 1878 in New York (Manhattan), New York

Buried Roslyn Cemetery, Roslyn, New York

Proposed by N/A: Founder

Elected 13 January 1847 at age fifty-two

Archivist’s Note: President of the Century Association, 1868–1878. Father-in-law of Parke Godwin; grandfather of Bryant Godwin. In 1864, to commemorate his seventieth birthday, the Century held a grand festival in his honor, featuring addresses from guests such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Julia Ward Howe; on that occasion, several artist members of the club donated paintings to the esteemed poet. Ten years later, for his eightieth birthday, a committee of Bryant’s friends including twenty-five Centurions commissioned the Bryant Vase from Tiffany’s, designed by James Horton Whitehouse with decorations by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, now held by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. After his death, a series of memorial addresses delivered at the clubhouse on 12 November 1878 by John Bigelow, Edmund C. Stedman, Richard H. Stoddard, and Bayard Taylor was published in book form (not yet reproduced on this website). The Bryant Monument in Bryant Park, one block south of the current Century Association clubhouse, was funded by subscriptions from Century members; executed by Herbert Adams with a pedestal by Thomas Hastings, it was unveiled in 1911.

Century Memorial

The list of members deceased during the year contains the names of eleven; E. R. Peaslee, Theodore Roosevelt, E. Delafield Smith, M. Knoedler, Edward Satterlee, William C. Bryant, Geo. S. Appleton, John S. Baker, Adam T. Sackett, William M. Allen and Bayard Taylor.

Augustus R. Macdonough
1879 Century Association Reports